Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Lesson in Temptation

Any time I mention being sugar-free, I get lots and lots of questions about it, so I thought I would do a weekly update on how I’m doing. It will also hopefully keep me in check if I know I have to tell you all about my ups and downs!

This year, I have eaten 1 homemade welsh cake, 2 Hershey’s Kisses, and 4 Ferrero Rochers. Everything else has been as close to sugar free as possible. Welsh cakes are biscuit sized and shaped but texture and taste-wise they’re like the love child of scones and shortbread. I had never had one before until a friend bought them to a picnic and to be honest I didn’t even realise what I was doing until Courts pointed out the sugar factor, but I tell you what, that little biscuit was SO GOOD.

The Hershey’s Kisses and Ferrero Rochers were all eaten on the same day while recovering from local anaesthetic and suffering a migraine. However, I had an entire box of each in front of me and ate 2 at a time over about 4 hours. The ‘old me’ would have had both boxes gone within an hour, so I’m not cut up over it.

Of the other foods I’ve eaten, some have had sugar content. It is ridiculous the number of things that include unsuspected sugar, and equally ridiculous the number of names sugar can be known by on an ingredients label. The highest number of sugar based additives I’ve counted in one item so far is seven. Seven! In a supposedly healthy muesli bar, for a total of almost 30% sugar. The sugar-added items I have eaten are things like canned peas (2.5%), corn thins (0.8%) and cottage cheese (2%) and I am definitely not fussed about percentages like that.

One thing that has really made sugar free life difficult is that little procedure I mentioned above. A little off topic, but as you can imagine, part of planning our trip to Europe is planning contraception. We will have no regular routine whatsoever and I know I won’t remember to take a pill. For various reasons the best option for us was one that is popular overseas but quite new here – an implant that goes in your arm and lasts 5 years (unless you take it out earlier). The procedure is simple, although a little stomach turning (perhaps not a tale for a blog about food!) and ultimately I now have hormones automatically releasing into my blood stream. Ladies, we know what that means – mood swings and chocolate cravings. In this case, chocolate cravings like never before!

Happily, I have not strayed. I have had hot milk instead of Milo, honey-muffins instead of cookies and fruit instead of heading to the vending machine. It has not been easy! But it has been worth it. When you are sugar free, life is immeasurably better. I wake up earlier, am happier, more patient, less moody, more tolerant, I feel lighter and I am more alert.

19 days in, it is still a huge struggle to avoid temptation but I would like to report a minor break through. In a week of wanting burgers, cookies, hot chocolate and anything with cocoa, a colleague was reheating pizza in the microwave at work. I looked over and, on autopilot, started to think how good it would taste. I stopped myself though, and realised that as the sugar reserves slowly leave my body, I don’t want it. The pizza didn’t appeal to me at all.

And that was my little bliss for the day, because it leads me to Good Food, more experimentation with Cooking and much more happiness with my Long Haired Boy.